Jerusalem Is Boycotting the Israeli Film Foxtrot, but the President's Wife Isn't Afraid to Say She Liked It

Israel's culture minister has been waging a battle against the film, in which Israeli soldiers are seen killing the passengers of a car and covering the traces of their act

Israeli soldiers manning the remote army checkpoint in "Foxtrot."
Giora Bejach/Lev Cinema and Spiro Films

Nechama Rivlin, wife of Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, says she is pleased that the controversial Israeli film “Foxtrot” will be screened in France, saying she thought the movie “was full of compassion.”

Rivlin’s comments came during an interview on Wednesday with Asaf Liberman on Kan 88 radio, in response to a decision by the Foreign Ministry to boycott the opening ceremony of the Israeli film festival in Paris because of the film, which was directed by Samuel Maoz.

“If we are talking about movies, then I want to speak about the film ‘Foxtrot.’ I watched it and liked it a lot,” said Rivlin. “Because the French love cinema so much, and it really flows in their veins, it is important to me for this film to be at the Israeli film festival in Paris.

FILE PHOTO: Nechama Rivlin, wife of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin
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“When you see the soldiers sitting at the outpost, you think about that you want every one of those children to be your child and you want to hug him. The horrible explosion that happens at the end, Shmulik [Maoz] used something very extreme and dramatic in order to express the difficult situation in which we live,” she added. “It is inconceivable that someone would think that it really happened.”

FOXTROT Trailer

As to whether Rivlin thought it was important for the Israeli ambassador to Paris to attend the ceremony, she said it was not. The important thing is that the movie is shown there, she said, adding that she had great affection for the French people because of their deep love for the cinema. “I remember that I was once in Paris with a good friend of mine and without understanding a word in French, I enjoyed watching films in the cinema so much. It was nice to see how they sit and talk after the film about every scene for an hour.”

Next month the 18th annual Israeli Film Festival – a veteran and respected cultural institution – will be held in Paris. This year the festival management decided to open the event with “Foxtrot,” which won the grand jury’s Silver Lion award at the Venice Film Festival in September, and was almost nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. But instead of boasting of the achievements of the film and its creator, the Israeli Embassy will boycott the event.

Since the summer, Culture Minister Miri Regev has been waging a stubborn battle against the film, in which Israeli soldiers are seen killing the passengers of a car and covering the traces of their act. Regev decided that the film “harms the good name of the IDF,” and even “destroys the greatest celebration of the 20th century – the State of Israel.”

Although Regev has no authority over Israeli embassies, the events of recent days proved that her spirit has infiltrated deep into the country’s institutions.